The mother of a nine-year-old boy is speaking out after her son was shot at twice while playing in an Airdrie park Friday (September 18) night when a shooting incident that left six people with minor injuries unfolded in the city.
Veronica Valin and her son Riley were going to visit Veronica's father at his home on Canals Circle just after 9:00 pm Friday night. Valin says Riley did what he usually does when they visit her dad, asked if he could visit the park that's located right across the street from the house.
"My dad is recovering from surgery, so I was helping him out," Valin explains. "Within five minutes, my son came running back into the house and said, 'mom, mom, somebody shot something at me,' We're all like, 'what are you talking about?' He says, 'yeah, somebody just shot something at me at the park."
Valin says she immediately looked around the area but didn't see anyone. She confronted her son saying, 'hey, this is serious. If someone is shooting something at you we have to call the police. Riley didn't want to do that so the Valins went about their evening. Later that night while Valin was on her way back to her sister's home in Crossfield, she received a call from her brother who told her there was an active shooter in Airdrie and police suspected he was using a BB gun. Valin was taken aback by that piece of news. "It's this moment, an hour and a half later that I realize my son actually got shot at by somebody with a BB gun."
When she delved deeper into her son's story, Valin explains what Riley told her. "He's up on a structure and he sees a guy off in the darkness who's wearing a black hoodie with white stripes. He doesn't think anything of it until he hears a 'ping' off something in the park." Riley ducked his head and decided to flee back to his grandpa's home, sliding down the slide only to be shot at again.
"He hits the ground running, comes across the street, there's literally 20 yards to my dad's house and he turned around and this guy was chasing him. Riley veered right and the guy veered left headed toward the path toward 8th Street when he was initially reported."
Valin says her reason for speaking about the incident involving her son is simple. "He (the shooter) took shots at a nine-year-old kid, in a park, knowing full well what he was doing, and that's just appalling. I want his grandmother to know, I want his parents, I want his friends to know this. That's not okay."
Riley is a bit shaken up by the whole ordeal but Valin says it could have been much worse. "Maybe this guy had a real gun or something. Riley is a bit of a morbid humour kid and the one thing he said was the guy really didn't have a very good shot."
Valin says the suspect was alone at the time and on foot. She and her father are checking to see if her dad's doorbell security camera captured any glimpse of him while he chased Riley.
Airdrie RCMP first received calls of males with a gun at 9:30 pm Friday night. They deployed Police Dog Services and the Emergency Response Team along with Calgary Police Service and HAWCS to assist them as they searched and businesses in the downtown area were told to shelter in place. By 11:45 pm, RCMP had four males in custody and the shelter in place order was lifted. Three of the males were later released after the investigation into the incident revealed they weren't involved. Police have charged 19-year-old Adam James Ferrier of Airdrie with a total of 20 criminal code offences Ferrier is scheduled to appear in Airdrie Provincial Court on October 15th.
Six people were injured with five only suffering minor injuries. The sixth victim required medical assistance to remove a BB from their person.